New Zealand chart-toppers Rival State’s North-East date

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ON the cusp of the release of their latest record, New Zealand alt-rock quintet Rival State take to the stage in the North East tomorrow.

Back home in the early days of the band, they made it to the finals of the nationally televised Rock Quest competition, an annual battle of the bands open to high schools across New Zealand.

“School became less of a priority,” says guitarist Jo Einarsson.

“By the time we were 16, we’d convince high schools around Taranaki to let us play.

“We met a lot of bands and would play in each other’s towns.

“It created an all-ages buzz and we started to get support slots with international bands like Rise Against.”

During a festival appearance in 2007, the band announced they were splitting up, only to get back together four years later and moving to London to chase their dreams.

With their debut album Apollo Me reaching No 1 in New Zealand, and achieving three top five singles in the radio charts, the five-piece gained the confidence to make the 11,000-mile flight to the UK and attempt to conquer another island.

“As amazing and supportive as the New Zealand music industry is, we got to a point where we needed to explore outside of the country and start again from scratch,” said Jo of their decision to decamp to the UK.

“That was a steep learning curve, but England feels like home, and London isn’t shy of having 20,000 Kiwis at any one time.”

On Monday, the five-piece release their new EP, Youth Tax, and the single Sleep Talker, and there are already plans for a second EP next year, with their second album shortly after.

“The tracks are raunchy and a little bit askew, which is kind of always how we’ve written songs,” explains vocalist Luke Van Hoof.

* Rival State play Think Tank 2 in Newcastle tomorrow. For tickets, visit www.rivalstate.net.